A message from the PHSC student community about tolerance and diversity in the wake of the Orlando Shootings
Princes Hill Secondary College is the centre of a vibrant community of parents, students and teachers. All play an active part in the daily life, decisions and programs of the school. It is a community united by a shared belief in the importance of the following values:
Community: belonging together and caring for each other
Diversity: respecting and valuing individual and cultural difference
Social Responsibility: a passionate commitment to ethical and socially just action
Creativity: nurturing a spirit of innovative inquiry and expression
Achievement: striving to set and reach challenging personal goals
Self-reliance: the self-discipline and resilience required to achieve these goals.
These values are expressed in the following comment about the Orlando Shootings written by Year 12 Bel Matthews.
The bullets fired at 2am on Sunday, but the trigger was pulled long before Pulse nightclub even opened. The gun was loaded with hate from the words of a society that does not recognize the LGBTQI+ community as equal citizens, with equal rights.
The discriminatory shots were set in their trajectory years before any of the Orlando Massacre victims were even born. ISIS has claimed credit for this hate crime, but 181 of 196 countries around the world still do not recognise same-sex marriage. Those bullets were the echoes of a multicultural oppression of the LGBTQI+ community.
No one specific group can truly be blamed for this hate crime. There is international, cross-cultural discrimination against those who identify as LGBTQI+ pervading our planet; systematically causing, and perpetuating hate crimes, hate thoughts, and resulting in a hateful society.
Hate crimes do not take place in a vacuum. Homophobia and transphobia do not exist in a vacuum. They are the product of discriminatory social norms, environments, attitudes, and legislation. They are a product of the words we hear, and the words we speak. Bullets are aimed to silence. But we will not be silenced.
Those bullets were fired to silence a community that fights every day to be heard. That fights every day to be afforded equal human rights. Those bullets were fired out of a fear that such voices were being heard. Those bullets were destined to boomerang back with the force of our words, our solidarity, and our pride. Pride of acceptance, and hope for a society that is all-inclusive.
The Princes Hill Secondary College student body would like to express our deepest condolences and sorrows to the LGBTQI+ community and all those affected by the Orlando tragedy over the weekend. We encourage the school community to lend an ear to the voices of the silenced, to offer a shoulder to the fatigued bodies, from waging this war of independence, and equality. We encourage the school community to show their support, use their own voices, and stand up against the backlash that has arisen, perhaps from our success in this fight for equal rights. Let us continue the fight, together raising our voices louder than any gunshot could.
This Thursday, the 16th of June, we encourage students and community members to wear rainbow colours as a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community; to show our support and to raise awareness for this discriminatory tragedy.
Our hearts quiver for the lives and liberty lost, as we paint ourselves with each colour of individuality, but celebrate the unity of the rainbow.
Bel Matthews (on behalf of the Student Leadership Council)
The Student Leadership Group have organised a 'Rainbow Day' for June 16.6.16 in remembrance of victims and their families and in solidarity with the LGBTIQ community.